McCain Campaign Ignores Cease-And-Desist; Keeps Playing 'Barracuda'

from the legal,-yes,-smart? dept

Last week, we noted that the band Heart had sent a cease-and-desist letter to the McCain campaign for its use of their song “Barracuda” as part of the intro for VP candidate Sarah Palin (nicknamed Sarah Barracuda — or, as someone noted, Sarahcuda). As we pointed out, it appeared that the cease-and-desist was pretty worthless on legal grounds. As long as the venue had paid the proper performance license they could play whatever songs they wanted. However, just because it was perfectly legal, didn’t mean that it made sense. After all, picking songs from artists who disagree with your positions seems like a recipe designed to give someone else a platform to speak out against you.

However, it looks like the McCain campaign is sticking with the fact that this is a perfectly legal use of the song, and is ignoring the cease-and-desist. Video Savant writes in to let us know that the campaign is still using the song at campaign appearances by the candidates.

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Comments on “McCain Campaign Ignores Cease-And-Desist; Keeps Playing 'Barracuda'”

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49 Comments
Jeff Rife says:

Re: Re: If they are paying the ASCAP fees

It would be an excellent idea if the McCain campaign was trying to make a point about copyright, artist rights, and related issues.

But, since it just seems like they are treating copyright like most big companies (“if we can get away with it, then it’s OK”), it’s probably a bad idea, although I don’t think it will make any difference in the election results.

Bill says:

Re: but what they can do is...

Sarrahcuda

So is Pailin the end –
She’s failing again today
I had to turn my vote away
Smiled like the sun –
Wishes for real
And wails – it never fails!

She’s lying so low in the weeds
I bet she’s gonna ambush me
She’d have me down down down down on my knees
Now wouldnt she, Sarrahcuda?

Back over time we were all
Living free
You met the people and me
No right no wrong, selling a psalm-
A name, whisper game.

If the real thing doesn’t do the trick
She’d better make up something quick
She’s gonna turn turn turn turn it to the stick
Ooooooh, Sarrahcuda?

Sell me sell you the party said
Dive down deep down to give em lead!
You…i think you got the blues too.

All that night and all the next
Scam without looking back
Made for the neo-con pools – silly fools!

If the real thing dont do the trick
No, you better make up something quick
You gonna turn turn turn turn it to the stick
Ooooooohhhh, Sarrah Sarrahcuda.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh.

rebrad says:

Re: Re: but what they can do is...

Bill, I wouldn’t quit my day job to write lyrics. IMHO I think Palin could find a better theme song. Something not on the AARP playlist. On the other hand I would think Heart should be happy. Someone besides senior citizens may learn of some of their works and buy their music. The record companies should be thrilled because the senior citizen community buys their music which will boast CD sales. A win win for everyone.

Mike42 (profile) says:

It's like this...

McCain campaign: We’ll play ‘Baracuda’ to show what a bad-ass Sarah is!
Heart: We wrote, composed, and performed the song, and we would like it if you didn’t use it to promote your campain, because we don’t agree with it.
McCain campaign: Screw you! We paid our performance fees! We can do whatever we want with your song!
Heart: You know, a ferocious, schooling, stupid fish is appropriate for this campaign…

jonnyq says:

However, just because it was perfectly legal, didn’t mean that it made sense. After all, picking songs from artists who disagree with your positions seems like a recipe designed to give someone else a platform to speak out against you.

What the? Mike? So campaigns are supposed to look up the political views of artists before they use their music? Does the artist eternally own the content of the song? (Surely you wouldn’t believe that…) I personally like lots of songs by artists whose beliefs I don’t like. It wouldn’t stop me from using their song on my MySpace page for example.

What about non-political scenarios? I’m sure there are plenty of artists who have their music used in commercials they might not like.

The example always mentioned is Born in the USA. Reagan used that song but the verses of the song wouldn’t agree with the way it was used. That would be a more reasonable example. However, I’ve heard plenty of songs’ choruses used out of context before in ways where the verses wouldn’t make sense. It’s a fairly common practice.

Sure, you might be able to make a LITTLE political hay about the McCain campaign using a song written by an liberal/Democrat artist, but that alone would be a silly reason for them to NOT use the song.

In related issues, there’s a fun story behind Rush Limbaugh’s theme song. The words of that song (which he doesn’t play) are politically opposite of Rush’s positions.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So campaigns are supposed to look up the political views of artists before they use their music?

Not supposed to. I’m just saying (and I thought I said this clearly) from a PR perspective, it would make sense for them to do so, since it’s a political campaign and all…

What about non-political scenarios? I’m sure there are plenty of artists who have their music used in commercials they might not like.

Well, actually, for a commercial you do need to secure the approval of the copyright holders. So it doesn’t really apply there.

But, as I said, I think this is unique to a political campaign, which is a popularity contest. You don’t want to give extra ammo to the other side, and doing something like this does.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

Re: Re: Re:

…from a PR perspective

How many people really know or care (except us Techdirt lemmings)? This issue seems to come up all the time. The fact that it continues to happen shows that it doesn’t really matter especially since their is no legal issue. Plus, isn’t this good advertising for Heart on top of getting paid. Mike are you a corporate shill for Heart, bringing this up to give Heart some attention for their upcoming tour? =]

/notes from angry dude’s playbook

jonnyq says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Well, actually, for a commercial you do need to secure the approval of the copyright holders. So it doesn’t really apply there.”

For a commercial, do you get the approval of the artist or the approval of the publisher? (serious question, I don’t know…) It seems I’ve heard plenty of songs used out of context …

I understand what you mean about it clearly being a PR issue, but it seems a little silly to dig that deep into the political beliefs of the songwriter or primary performer(s) (which may not be the same people) to decide whether to use a song in a localized setting of your own supporters that wouldn’t really care. It would also depend on the activism of the artists – if they’re not very active, then it doesn’t matter. But if they’re the Dixie Chicks or something, I could see the point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Taking the nickname given to you by students who weren’t exactly fans of you, and then taking a song by a band who actively and publically dislike you to promote that nickname, whilst at the same time giving funds directly to Obama’s campaign (the money the band get from their use of the song, they give to Obama’s campaign)…

That’s pretty silly.

Sleezball McCain says:

Squashed? II

Didn’t the Obama campaign have a reporter arrested for standing on a sidewalk during their convention?

No. That was a Denver Poice officer, was jailed for disobeying a police officer. No relation. What about the 400+ protesters who were jailed in St. Paul?

Didn’t they threaten a private citizen for daring to bring up Bill Ayers?

Bill Ayers? Are we still on that story? Man if you want to pull punches, let’s talk about how Ross Perot Paid McCain’s First Wive’s Medical Bills when John went to go play the field and marry Cindy 5 weeks after returning from Vietnam. Is there a song for that?

Check out McCain’s wandering eye– checking out Sarah Palin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qUVQDmLf7s

Sleezball McCain says:

Squashed? II

Didn’t the Obama campaign have a reporter arrested for standing on a sidewalk during their convention?

No. That was a Denver Poice officer, was jailed for disobeying a police officer. No relation. What about the 400+ protesters who were jailed in St. Paul?

Didn’t they threaten a private citizen for daring to bring up Bill Ayers?

Bill Ayers? Are we still on that story? Man if you want to pull punches, let’s talk about how Ross Perot Paid McCain’s First Wive’s Medical Bills when John went to go play the field and marry Cindy 5 weeks after returning from Vietnam. Is there a song for that?

Check out McCain’s wandering eye– checking out Sarah Palin..It’s great when he subconsciously fiddles with his wedding ring!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qUVQDmLf7s

JD says:

Re: Squashed? II

Didn’t the Obama campaign have a reporter arrested for standing on a sidewalk during their convention?

No. That was a Denver Poice officer, was jailed for disobeying a police officer. No relation. What about the 400+ protesters who were jailed in St. Paul?

1.No doubt ordered to do that by Obama himself
2.I believe that case law on that is disobeying a LAWFUL order of the police – HOW IS STANDING ON A PUBLIC SUDEWALK ILLEGAL?

Didn’t they threaten a private citizen for daring to bring up Bill Ayers?

Bill Ayers? Are we still on that story?

That happened just last week. Why is it whenever the Social-Fascist Democrats do something wrong the immediate response is to sweep it under the rug. As is Move-On

Doesn’t it bother you that Obama hangs around with a Terrorist?

Garry King (user link) says:

C'Mon ladies, get over it

I’m a huge fan of Ann and Nancy Wilson, but C’mon ladies, get over it. You should be flattered that so people who are at odds with your political views will still embrace and pay dearly for your extraordinary music. I seriously doubt that the candidate you support would be so open minded. Please try to be open minded about your fans views and put your energy into what you do best.

Jay says:

The real question is how can anyone vote for McCain? It is completely amazing. I mean our country is so messed up right now and how can anyone in their right mind vote for a guy who is basically another Bush. I am neither a Rep or a Dem but the 100% fact is that 8 years of Rep Bush has killed this country. How can you vote for more of this? OMG.
Plus the guy is a fossil.

Anonymous Coward says:

Theme song for the "Sexy Librarian"

I found my 3nd Generation iPod last week and was scanning thru the songs today on the way to McCain’s first Pit Stop after the Primary- The building across the street from Focus On The Family. Guess what was on the iPod?

Barracuda by Heart.

After a few minutes of listening to it, all I have to say is “WOW”. An excellent example of American Music. I hope McCain and his team play that song until the end of time. No wonder why that never got transferred over to my iPod Classic. What a disgrace- that I actually paid for it.

I admit, it was the first time I played the song all the way thru.

Anonymous Cow says:

nobody cares about the artists' views

Most sane people do NOT want to hear the political views of the artists of whose music one is listening to it because those people do not care for politics while escaping reality with music for a short time.

We sane people have a piece of advice for such artists/bands: STFU and sing or get the hell off the damned stage!

Enrico Suarve says:

Re: nobody cares about the artists' views

Aye – cos there’s a whole lot of sanity in American Politics

Ooh – She’s a Hockey mom – I’ll vote for that
Ooh – She says she’s ferocious – I’ll vote for that
Ooh – Shes got sod all experience of governing, loves earmarking (as long as it’s for her), wastes public money on pointless projects and hasn’t actually said what her policies would be on anything

“who cares she’s a pitbull – I’ll vote for that”

Yeah – heaps of sanity

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: nobody cares about the artists' views

Not so much stupid (lack of intelligence) as unwilling to think (refusing to use intelligence). I am quite conservative, but what I can’t stand about the Republican party as a whole is the “with us or against us” attitude, especially in the Bush era. Disagree on one issue, you’re labeled a liberal. Think for yourself, and you’re a liberal. Criticize Bush, and you’re a liberal. And liberalism is a mental disorder, just as their hack spokesman Savage.

To be fair, it’s becoming more and more true of Democrats, too. They simply use a different approach of saying that if you have a single conservative belief, you must be stupid, brainwashed, and unworthy of a vote.

I can’t wait until the two-party system finally collapses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Interesting . . . ?

Since as I recall they stopped using Mellencamps “our country” when he politely asked them too. I understand that they were also asked to stop using a Jackson Browne song and complied with out much fuss (even though I dont think they HAD TO in either of those cases).

This Palin gal is all about “created image” though and since most of that image is fake, they may see this song as much more important then usual (its part of the smoke and mirrors that helps create an image). Its pretty standard Republican symbolism over substance, they think thier supporters are so stupid that they will continually buy this kind of staged, fake, “image-maker” crap.

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